Winter VCN Meeting

Volunteers Coordinator Network (VCN) quarterly meeting

Winter VCN Meeting

Volunteers Coordinator Network (VCN) quarterly meeting

Collaborations -


The issue

Environmental volunteering programs have steadily grown throughout Sydney since the 1980s with many local councils supporting the majority of the work done by environmental volunteers. Whilst there are numerous social, educational and health benefits for the volunteers, there are also unique challenges faced by environmental volunteer coordinators. Understanding the needs and motivations of the volunteers and ensuring programs are well managed, will result in increased engagement and improved outcomes, as the volunteers themselves become a powerful force for change within their community. 

The solution

Many of the challenges facing environmental volunteer program coordinators are common across local councils and other land management organisations. Therefore, coordinators often working in isolation can benefit from the presentation of shared learnings with other coordinators and environmental practitioners. 

The Volunteer Coordinators Network (VCN) meets quarterly to discuss current issues, ongoing challenges and possible solutions. The Winter VCN meeting hosted by North Sydney Council at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability in Waverton was a well organised event with inspiring guest speakers and a facilitated ‘round table’ discussion, allowing all represented organisations to have a voice. The meeting included tours of a termite treatment site at Balls Head and the Bushcare Community Nursery.  

The impact

The Winter VCN meeting was well attended and allowed adequate time for both networking and learning. The presentation by Margot Blues (AQF3 Qualified Arborist) and Tristram Thomas (Team Leader - Bush Regeneration, North Sydney Council) on the success of a unique termite treatment program in Balls Head Reserve was practical and engaging. The online presentation by Dr Tein McDonald, of the challenges facing the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration, called for ideas and inputs from the network. This created interesting discussions and allowed coordinators to feel valued and consulted on important conservation issues. 

Key facts

  • The VCN is an important organisation which connects coordinators of environmental volunteering programs across Greater Sydney.
  • Sharing ideas and experience is valuable to all in attendance.
  • The Winter VCN meeting shared knowledge on termite treatment, training volunteers, the UN Decade of Ecological Restoration and Bushcare Community Nursery operations.